Best Stocks to Buy in 2012

As Investopedia says, “[Stocks] are, without a doubt, one of the greatest tools ever invented for building wealth.” That being said, there are definite winners and losers in the stock market, so it really is important to do your own research into any stock you are planning to buy. The following five stocks create a balanced portfolio that should ride the wave of improvement in the United States while acting as a buffer from a possible European crisis:

5. Plains All American Pipeline (PAA)

In a highly volatile market, owning stocks with large-but-stable dividends is a good way to protect your portfolio against losses. This pipeline partnership earns its money similar to a the way that a toll road does, and benefits from increased volumes in its pipeline (AKA a larger demand for oil and natural gas). It takes its profits from these “tolls” and gives it to its shareholders as a healthy 5.54% dividend. This is one of the best stocks out there to protect you against worries from Europe, as the state of Europe will not affect this company at all.

4. Pay Chex (PAYX)

This company, another high yielder, is an American payroll processing company that has a very stable 4.34% dividend. As the job situation improves in the United States, this stock is sure to get a lot of extra business to meet the demand for more payroll processing, as it is one of the top dogs of the industry. The steady dividend, good chance for growth, and the protection against Europe make this a great company to own in 2012.

3. McDonalds (MCD)

This stock, rated 5-stars by Standard and Poor’s, is one of the most consistent uptrends of any stock out there. McDonalds has a knack for adapting its products to the local cultures and tastes, and has a huge amount of expanding growth in emerging markets. This emerging market’s growth, coupled with the fact that no economic crisis will ever lessen the demand for McDonalds food, makes McDonalds one of the most appetizing stocks for 2012.

2. Nike (NKE)

There are so many things going for Nike in 2012 that the chances are this stock will be one of the best performing ones out there. Jim Cramer recently highlighted some of the reasons to buy Nike for 2012, and did a very good job pointing out the reasons why you should own this stock. First, the demand for Nike’s products is very high due to superior products and clever marketing, while the market for its products is huge. Also, both the 2012 Summer Olympics and the upcoming basketball season are catalysis’s that can shoot this stock higher. These things, along with the ability to pass costs on to the consumer set Nike apart from other companies as a superior stock to own in 2012.

1. Disney (DIS)

In December 2011, Disney boosted their dividend a whopping 50%. This is one of the most bullish things a company can do, and shows that Disney’s management is confident about the companies long term prospects. That dividend boost brought this S&P 5-star stock’s yield to about 1.7%. Disney has many sectors to create earnings in, including their theme parks, their movies, ABC news network, and the lucrative ESPN. As Jim Cramer said on his show Mad Money, “…it [Disney] has catalysts galore going forward.”

By researching these stock picks, you are sure to find a winner that will beat the market and provide a huge boost to your portfolio. 2012 is shaping up to be a good year in the U.S. (although questionable in Europe) and the stocks above will take huge benefits from this rise in the United States economy.